Rishabh Jain: Reimagining Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing doesn’t work for creators or consumers, so it doesn’t work for brands. Rishabh Jain explores creator commerce and the way he’s rethinking the traditional approach.

Creator commerce, or how it’s sometimes better known as, influencer marketing, can be a powerful tool for a growing Shopify store. In this episode of Optily Radio, we chatted with Rishabh Jain, CEO of Fermat Commerce, and our own Kevin Stagg about inspiration-based commerce and the current challenges of creator brand partnerships.

Rishabh introduced us to the very strange situation in which creators found themselves: the more successful they were at sales the more people would bounce off their page. Affiliate marketing was not working for the affiliates and it was creating a jarring experience for the consumers. This was the “aha moment” that inspired Fermat Commerce to come about.

Setting up a successful creator partnership does take a bit of effort to coordinate, but can be very beneficial for both parties when done right. In addition to exploring the difficulties with influencer marketing, Rishabh goes into some tactics for creating partnerships.

Among the topics discussed in this episode were:

  • The pandemic driving even higher demand for brand content
  • The best way to create a partnership with a creator
  • Creating the wow experience for a first-time customer

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Brands as content creators

Rishabh points out that just like we’re hosting this podcast to provide high-quality content to our audience, most brands are expected to generate content to support their customers. He was surprised to find out from a company he had chatted to recently that a “How to” article on their site was getting more than double the traffic of their homepage.

Brands have been forced to shift online in the past 2 years and create these inspirational spaces and communities in a new venue. This is exactly where the role of the content creator or influencer comes through. People look to these internet celebrities and see parts of themselves there, which then inspires them to make a purchase. 

People seek out content, primarily. Through the content, they gain awareness and desire to make a purchase. When brands create partnerships with these content creators, they gain an air of authenticity and access to an exclusive audience they simply wouldn’t be able to reach with only ads.

How to establish a creator partnership

Simply offering free products is not going to cut it these days. Oftentimes, creators are building their audience and creating content full-time so they need to be compensated as such. 

Upfluence, Grin, and CreatorIQ are three good tools Rishabh mentioned for researching a creator. You’ll need to spend some time researching who they are, what they post about, and how they typically engage with their audience first, before reaching out about a potential partnership. Rishabh insists on spending this extra bit of time to really get to know what they’re about, rather than just sending a generic outreach email.

Wowing your customers 

Creating a wow experience for the content consumer who will (hopefully) become a consumer of your products too is the key when working with content creators. Currently, affiliate marketing doesn’t achieve this. 

The way it works now is very jarring for a user. First, they see a piece of content on social media, let’s say Instagram. They want to learn more and go to the link in bio for that creator. They’re then transported to a product page where they lose any links to the content they had just been engaging with. The vast majority of people will just bounce off at this point.

Rishabh is looking to create a great experience for users that enables them to make purchases without being bounced around. With an embeddable shopping widget, like Fermat Commerce, rather than a traditional affiliate link, a creator can insert products through a blog page and keep users shopping and browsing their content all from their page. 

Although this may not initially be a huge AOV for the brand, once that first product is ordered, remarketing, discounts, and targeting through other channels can take over. Impress a customer with one order and there’s a good chance that they will keep ordering.

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